Death Valley National Park has the hottest overall temperatures on earth, including the highest recorded air temperature of 134 degrees. With an average of less than two inches of rain a year, the plants there manage to eke out their survival in harsh conditions.
So during the rare years when several inches of rain show up in a few months in fall and winter, it’s miraculous for plants. The long-dormant seeds burst out in carpets of wildflowers across the desert floor. Luckily for me, for five days in February I was able to experience this spectacle.
I have stories to share about my journey in a future post. For now, it’s all about photos of the flowers.
Desert five-spot, an uncommon flower
Desert gold, the showy and densely growing flower that turns entire landscapes yellow
Scented cryptantha, easy to miss with its tiny blossoms
Notch-leaf phacelia—I was glad a ranger warned me that touching it can cause a rash
The night-blooming brown-eyed evening primrose, at sunset as blossoms opened
Golden evening primrose soon after sunrise, with the notch-leaf phacelia
Pebble pincushion, the only one of this species that I saw
Desert-star, looking like miniature daisies
(Two additional Death Valley posts feature my adventure in a storm and more landscapes.) For more of this ephemeral beauty, check out Death Valley National Park’s video about this year’s bloom.